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To not invite my dad's wife to my wedding?

(234 Posts)
weddingfamilywoes Sat 01-Sep-12 23:03:59

I'm getting married next year, and deciding how to deal with my divorced parents is causing me a lot of stress. They have been divorced for almost 20 years, but its still a big deal for me to have them in the same place. Since they split up, the only time I have seen them in the same place was at my siblings' weddings. My dad never went to any graduations etc, it was always accepted that my mum would be the one to go.

At my siblings' weddings it was clearly a big deal for my mum that my dad was there. So much so, that she took a tranquilizer before one of the weddings. I also remember my dad talking to her at once, and it really rattled her.

My mum has never remarried. She hates my dad, but I think underneath there is a lot of regret and some feelings still there for him. When my parents split up, he left her for another woman (although I don't think my mum was blameless in the breakdown of their relationship). He later remarried (but to a different person).

I like my dad's wife (stepmother I guess) a lot, but I'm not sure whether to invite her to the wedding. I anticipate that my mum will react badly to the news, perhaps terribly so. I have always had a somewhat tumultuous relationship with her. She has quite low self-esteem and is prone to depression. When my dad got remarried (~10 years ago), I told my mum I was going and she got hysterical. She phoned my grandparents and shouted at them down the phone, and asked why they were supporting this. I backed out of the wedding. I'm kind of expecting the same thing if I invite my dad's wife this time. And I'm worried whether it would be too big a thing for my mum to handle. She had cancer earlier this year and has generally been more depressed since. But on the other hand I feel really bad for my dad and his wife if I don't invite her. Neither of my siblings invited her to their wedding. I guess they felt it was best to avoid the stress for themselves and my mum.

SmellsLikeTeenStrop Sat 01-Sep-12 23:26:17

Does your DM often ruin things by getting stressed when situations haven't gone her way?

larks35 Sat 01-Sep-12 23:26:49

Can you get your siblings on side to ensure that if she does wobble on the day you are not made aware of it?

BackforGood Sat 01-Sep-12 23:27:01

I agree with most people. It's not fair on you or your Dad for your Mum to be manipulating things for so long with the emotional blackmail. Do you have an Aunt/Uncle or Godmother / Godfather who would help you by giving your Mum a bit of support on the day? Either way, I think you should calmly tell your Mum that you are inviting your Dad and his wife now, so she has time to get used to it, and be prepared to just calmly repeat it is your wedding, and your choice, and that you really hope she will come and behave graciously, but if she can't, that's very sad, but you are not going to be emotionally blackmailed by her. So sorry you are getting all this stress when planning what should be such a joyous occasion.

edam Sat 01-Sep-12 23:27:52

Oh blimey, this is so difficult for you. All the advice about 'invite all of them, you can't pander to your mother' is fine in theory, but actually you are really worried about your Mother causing a scene on the day, aren't you? And that advice won't prevent it happening... and of course you do want your Mother there on the day, not refusing to come because you are inviting your Dad's wife.

What do your sisters suggest? Could you have them poised and ready to spring into action if your Mum kicks off, ready to hustle her out of the room somewhere for a nice sit down with a calming cup of tea?

BillComptonstrousers Sat 01-Sep-12 23:27:53

Your poor Stepmother! Your father has been married to her for 10 years and you would exclude her from the wedding! I really think your mother should get a grip, they have been divorced for 20 years, and she had to take a Tranquilliser to go to your siblings wedding?

If there is another reason as to why she hates your father that much it's causing her emotional damage for one day I think she needs to address it.

It must be so hard for you OP,but I feel really sorry for your father and stepmother, I'm sure they would both enjoy such a lovely occasion together. It would be horrible for her to sit at home while your father gave you away.

wilkos Sat 01-Sep-12 23:29:07

can you pair her up on the day with someone who knows the situation and can deal with her accordingly? relative of mine did that at her wedding with her "challenging" pain in the arse mother

eslteacher Sat 01-Sep-12 23:29:22

Wasn't there a similar thread about a month ago? Very similar situation, except OP didn't like the new wife so didn't want to invite her on that basis as well as thinking it would send her mum into a panic attack on the wedding day.

Anyway OP the reasonable thing to do would be to invite all three of them and try to ignore any acting out by your mother on the day, but easier said than done.

Do you think your DM is capable of actually listening to reason and playing nice on your wedding day for your sake? Or is that just never going to happen?

DisabilEightiesChick Sat 01-Sep-12 23:29:32

There was a thread with a very similar situation a couple of months ago. Seem to remember most people said invite dad's wife. Can anyone link it so OP can benefit from that?

DisabilEightiesChick Sat 01-Sep-12 23:30:59

river boat - X post. I remember it too.

weddingfamilywoes Sat 01-Sep-12 23:32:44

I don't think my mum will make a scene in front of DF and wife or other guests at the wedding. But I think she could be very anxious/panicky the day before and on the morning of the wedding. She would be getting ready with me and the bridesmaids.

I think the general consensus is that I should invite DF's wife. I think it will take all the courage I have to tell my mum about it. I need to think about it for a bit, but if I can work up the courage I'll try to do it. I think I will just feel awful if I leave her hysterical and in a depressed state after telling her.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Sat 01-Sep-12 23:35:49

Do you plan on having children? Christenings, birthdays, graduations? This could be the time to sort this out once and for all.

if I leave her hysterical and in a depressed state NO NO NO. Her emotions are her responsibility! If she is upset, it is because she needs to do some work.

queenofthepirates Sat 01-Sep-12 23:52:33

I had a similar situation with my parents-they divorced when I was 18 and for the next 20 years, loathed one another with a feverish passion.

I put my foot down when my DD was born and when my mum ended up leaving her own home on her birthday to avoid seeing my dad-just horrible.

They finally did the impossible and get in touch with one another and agreed to be pleasant in public. I was gobsmacked! They've kept to it for a year now so it can happen. I kept well out of their negotiations to try and give them a bit of respect and to their credit, they seem to have cracked it.

ComeBackasaFlower Sat 01-Sep-12 23:59:46

There was a thread with a very similar situation a couple of months ago.

That was me. This is the thread. I got a proper pasting smile

Might give you some fresh/helpful insights, though, OP. Might not. Either way, it might help to know that you're not the only one struggling with this kind of situation.

perfumedlife Sun 02-Sep-12 00:01:37

We had a similar issue when marrying. Dh's parents divorced ten years earlier, fil left for another woman. Mil was extremely angry and bitter still. Dh decided it was not for him to pick and choose who to leave out so wanted to invite them all and it was up to them if they came.

We called Mil with our wedding news, just that we were planning a small do fairly soon and she replied she was in Spain that month shock We hadn't even said the month so got the message loud and clear that she would not attend if Fil and his partner were coming. Fine. Her issue. I know that you want your mother there but you also want your dad to be there and why shouldn't he have his wife with him, just to suit your mum, his ex?

I think if you are firm, sound confident in your decision, she may just realise this is the way it's got to be. I also don't care for the suggestion of an appeasing speech to thank mum, much though I understand why it was suggested. The whole problem seems to be too much pandering to your mum, indulging her bitterness.

BigHairyLeggedSpider Sun 02-Sep-12 00:03:12

Invite the wife. Your mum sounds like my stepdad, emotionally controlling, depressive and manipulative. Difficult as you love her, but so not fair on the wife. Tell your mum you're inviting her as it's your wedding and you would like everyone who means something to you to be there, and that you would hope they were all mature enough by now to get on with it.

Tell the wife that you want her there, and sorry in advance for any nastiness from your mum.

InkyBinky Sun 02-Sep-12 00:05:19

I think I would invite DF's wife too. Your DM does sound rather manipulative I am afraid. If you end up not inviting DF's wife it would be good if you could arrange to do something nice with her and you DF instead to let her know your bare her no ill will. Its a very difficult situation.
Good luck with whatever you do, I hope you have a lovely, stress free wedding.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Sun 02-Sep-12 00:05:57

Your mum is being very selfish and pandering o her emotional blackmail won't do anyone any favours.

Your poor Dads wife, being excluded from family celebrations when she has done nothing wrong, and has in fact got on well with you. Id feel sorry for her and your Dad way more than I would your Mum. She is the one causing the problem and who you have reason to believe wont put a bride and her groom first on their own wedding day. I think you should tell her that anyone who didn't have yours and your future husbands happiness as their priority on you Wedding day won't be welcome. That includes her if she can't refrain from being a drama queen.

SirBoobAlot Sun 02-Sep-12 00:06:02

Invite your stepmother. Have a talk with your mum before hand, a blunt talk: "This is MY wedding day, you will NOT ruin it." Its acceptable to be temporarily bridezilla wink

YouOldSlag Sun 02-Sep-12 00:21:38

Invite them all. Give your Mum plenty of notice, then she can decide not to attend if it's too difficult for her.

She sounds selfish and manipulative and is putting her feelings for your father before you or your wedding day.

My parents split up 30 years ago and my Mum still pulls a cats bum face every time they have to be in the same room, even though she has remarried.

I get so pissed off with divorced couples making other people's weddings about THEM and not the bride and groom.

Use this as a turning point. Tell your Mum the politics end here and it is only one day. After this there may be baptisms or other occasions and she can't continue to make you feel bad about having your DF and DW in your life.

Good luck and lots of sympathy for you from me.

Tell her to get some therapy or stay away unless she can behave and not have the vapours.

80sbabe Sun 02-Sep-12 00:36:18

I have been the "uninvited" stepmother and believe you me it hurts - it hurts a lot.
Like your dad's wife, I was not the other woman and my DH's ex had been remarried for years before we even met, however she still wielded a powerful emotional hold over her children.
Although I'd been part of their lives, contributed to their finances when they were growing up and later at University and never caused their mother any grief whatsoever, I was always persona non-grata while her second husband was always included.
I didn't get to attend my stepchildren's 18th or 21st birthday celebrations or their graduations although my husband went to them all.

When my stepson decided to marry we found out via facebook.
Initially neither of us was invited because "It might upset mum".
Then a few days before the wedding my stepson "found" a place for his dad. However it was made clear I was not and would not be invited, neither would our children.
It caused my DH a huge amount of grief and soul searching, but eventually he decided he'd had enough of going to "his" family events alone. He rejected the last minute invite if I was not welcome.

Sadly it's caused a massive rift and his son has refused to speak to him since - he felt he'd bent over backwards to find room for his dad, but my DH only saw his son's mother and step-father welcome while his own wife was excluded.

You say your dad and your step-mum will graciously accept it if she is not included. I too told my DH that if he wanted to go to his son's wedding I would not cause a fuss just as I hadn't with any other occasion.
However, I have to say that when he stood up for us and said we came as a couple or neither of us did I was relieved as I had been hurt and left behind so many times before.

If you want to invite your step mother along with your father then you should do so. If my experience is anything to go by she and your dad will be delighted that you've done so, and your mum to be quite honest needs to let you make your own decisions regarding your wedding day.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Sun 02-Sep-12 01:13:23

This is why I'd like to pop down the register office wih DP, the kids and a couple of witnesses! Both our parents have been divorced and all have remarried. My dad 3 times!
On the other hand, when we do get married, it will be about DP and I. Anyone who doesnt like the arrangements can lump it!

80sbabe Sun 02-Sep-12 01:22:23

saggy if my stepson and his wife had done what you suggest then it wouldn't have been an issue for us at all.
In fact when I married DH it was just us, his children, my children and a couple of witnesses.
We too made it just about us. Not even our parents attended because that was the way we wanted it and we were fair down the line.
The fact that his son chose to have a big wedding and celebration including his mum, step dad, half brothers and sisters from his mum, but excluding me and his half siblings from our marriage did make a difference.
I'm all for quiet and intimate providing you are not having one rule for one half of the family and a different one for the rest.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Sun 02-Sep-12 01:38:35

I quite agree. It must have been awful for you. And your Dcs! I've got step and half siblings and it's a tough dynamic!

JessePinkman Sun 02-Sep-12 01:44:07

80sbabe I think your dh made a mistake there, after a lot ôf soul searching he should have gone to his son's wedding, whether you were included or not.

iscream Sun 02-Sep-12 01:49:21

Well, my mother sounds very similar. Panic attacks, depression, anxiety, and all about her.
Can you sit down and talk with your mother, and point out how she will ruin your wedding if she can't at least pretend to be mature about this? I mean, it isn't about her, and it has been 20 years, and your step mother wasn't the "other woman".

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